Monthly Archives: October 2016

Workers’ Compensation Advocate David DePaolo Will be Missed

David DePaolo

Today’s post comes from guest author Rod Rehm, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

David DePaolo, founder of WorkCompCentral, recently passed away. He was one of the most authentic individuals in the workers’ compensation industry, who often advocated for the injured worker in his blog posts.  

Mr. DePaolo was an intellect, visionary and bridge to all sides of the table in the workers’ compensation arena. It is people like him that the workers’ compensation systems around the country need in order to make things fair, reasonable and just for all.

Thoughts go to his family and loved ones.

Workers’ Compensation ‘Reform,’ Profits: What NCCI Shared

Today’s post comes from guest author Rod Rehm, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

Workers’ compensation laws are under constant attack by “reformers” from industry, insurance and self-insureds. NCCI is the National Council on Compensation Insurance, a group that participates in many aspects of workers’ compensation, including setting premiums. The NCCI recently released presentations regarding big issues in workers’ compensation, including information about prescription drug cost-control (listed first below) and an insurance industry financial review (listed last below). These presentations were part of the NCCI’s 2016 Annual Issues Symposium. 

These presentations are interesting. I recommend reviewing them for a snapshot of our current workers’ compensation system in America. The financial review link (“Shape of Things to Come … ” above) shows  high net income for the  insurance industry. Is the constant pressure to “reform” workers’ compensation law fair and reasonable? Is maximizing profit for the insurance industry more important than fair compensation of worker injury and death?

What can we do about shift work?

Today’s post comes from guest author Jon L Gelman, from Jon L Gelman LLC.

SHIFTWORK

There has been a lot of research published in the past few years around the effect of shift work and our health since the World Health Organisation classified night shift work as a probable carcinogen back in 2007. In 2012 research for the HSE estimated that the additional breast cancer risk associated with night shift working would have translated into about 2,000 extra cases of breast cancer (out of a total of about 43,200 in Britain) in 2004. That would mean around 550 additional deaths and makes it the biggest occupational killer after asbestos. A study in 2013, based on 2,300 women in Vancouver found that women who worked night shifts for 30 years or more were twice as likely to develop breast cancer.

More research was published this week on the link between shift work and cancer. The new one comes from researchers in the Netherlands and Germany and appears to support previous research suggesting a link between night-shift work and breast cancer. Although this research is in mice it is important because it provides the first experimental proof that shift work increases breast cancer development.

However it is not just breast cancer that is more likely to be caused by shift working. Shift work has been shown to lead to heart problems, type2 diabetes and obesity. It is also linked to stomach problems and ulcers, depression, and an increased risk of accidents or injury. We have known about these problems for many years and researchers continue to find links between…

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Attack on Workers’ Rights Around the Country

Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.

As this article correctly notes, “Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing”!  Our work comp colleague in Pennsylvania are facing further attacks on their workers’ compensation system.  The article astutely points out: “Across the country, in state houses largely influenced by insurance industry interests, there is an insidious attack on workers’ rights masquerading as ‘workers’ compensation reform’.”

These deform measures are creating a race to the bottom across the country for workers’ benefits and rights.  Medical providers and the medical community should be on high alert when legislation mentions fee schedules or treatment guidelines.  Putting aside the political double-speak, many of these legislative efforts result in a direct burden shift for the costs of medical expenses from the worker’s compensation insurance company to the worker (through private health insurance) or the public (in the form of government insurance, like Medicaid and Medicare).  Be aware.

Prevent Construction Falls: Celebrate National Safety Stand-Down This Week

Today’s post comes from guest author Rod Rehm, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

Many have heard the cliché that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is especially true when it comes to workplace safety. 

Following up on last week’s Workers’ Memorial Day commemoration, this week is National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. The lawyers here are prepared to help injured workers and their loved ones because of their experience in workers’ compensation and other issues related to workers and personal injury. But is frustrating to realize that all too often, incidents that result in workers’ injuries on the job could and should have been prevented.

With a goal of reaching 5 million workers, or over half of the country’s construction workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s voluntary event this year “focuses on ‘Fall Hazards’ and reinforcing the importance of ‘Fall Prevention,’” according to the National Safety Stand Down website.

“Falls continue to be the construction industry’s leading cause of death; each year, hundreds of workers die and thousands more suffer catastrophic, debilitating injuries. Despite these chilling statistics, the absence of proper fall protection remains the violation cited most frequently by federal safety inspectors,” according to this news release from the U.S. Labor Department. 

Both of the pages linked to above include good resources for employers and workers to explore and consider for their workplaces to bring greater safety awareness to construction zones, regardless of what’s being built. 

“Our nation and our economy should not be built on the backs of fallen and injured workers,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the Labor Department’s news release. “The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls is an opportunity to reach millions of workers and bring employers, unions and other organizations together to show their commitment to safety and to ensure construction workers end their shift safe, healthy and ready to return home.” 

Please contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions about a specific situation that you or a loved ones has encountered. Have a safe and productive month.